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nanoHUB-U TEAS Thermoelectricity - Atoms to Systems: Scientific Overview

By Ali Shakouri1, Supriyo Datta1, Mark Lundstrom1

1. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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This five-week short course aims to introduce students to the thermoelectric theory and applications using a unique, “bottom up” approach to carrier transport that has emerged from research on molecular and nanoscale electronics. Intuition about thermoelectric relations and efficiency limits are obtained by studying a single atom. The first two weeks of the course introduce this new perspective and connects it to the traditional treatment of thermoelectric science. Landauer formalism provides a unified framework to study both electron and phonon transport.

The following three weeks introduce latest nanoscale and macroscale characterization techniques, the design of thermoelectric systems, and recent advances in nanoengineered thermoelectric materials and physics. Online simulations using nanoHUB will illustrate transport in realistic TE materials and energy balance in thermoelectric devices. System requirements for electronics cooling and for large scale direct heat to electricity conversion in waste heat recovery and topping cycle applications, and trade-offs beyond material’s thermoelectric figure-of-merit, in terms of the heat sink requirements, thermal stress, material usage and overall cost will be briefly introduced.

The course is taught at the level of a Purdue University course for undergraduate seniors or first year graduate students. The course also provides experts on thermoelectric science and technology with a new perspective. The instructor-led online course can be taken from anywhere in the world from October 3 through November 6, 2013 for a nominal fee of $30.00 and after that, for free in a self-paced mode through nanoHUB-U ( Certification is available to students in the instructor-led course.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Ali Shakouri; Supriyo Datta; Mark Lundstrom (2013), "nanoHUB-U TEAS Thermoelectricity - Atoms to Systems: Scientific Overview,"

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Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.